The Role of the Family in Addiction Recovery
Work to reduce stress in the household. The National Institute of Health suggests that stress is a predominant factor when it comes to relapsing after any extended period of sobriety. Not only will working to reduce stress within the home help your loved one, but it will inevitably help you as well. In order to effectively reduce the occurrence of stress-inducing situations, do what you can to ensure that issues within familial relationships are being effectively resolved. Seek therapy for yourself (as previously discussed), and make sure that all family members have access to therapeutic counseling, as well as any additional resources they may need. Look into healthy and bonding family activities, such as hiking, trips to the beach and family movie nights. Guide your loved ones towards healthy coping mechanisms by teaching through example.
The Family and Trauma Recovery
In many instances, the addicted individual in your life will be recovering from much more than substance dependency. Many addicts and alcoholics uncover a wide range of underlying factors that both contributed to and caused their initial inclination towards substance abuse – childhood trauma, sexual abuse and relational trauma are commonly found at the root of the issue. It is important to recognize that healing from trauma is a delicate and long-term process, just as is healing from the lasting consequences of active alcoholism or drug addiction. The family plays an important role when it comes to supporting an individual who is recovering from a traumatic experience. It is important that continued therapeutic treatment is sought long after your loved one has completed inpatient treatment. It is also crucial that all of his or her basic human needs are being consistently met. This means:
- Access to healthy and nourishing food.
- A safe and stress-free home environment (shelter).
- The ability to rest.
- Companionship/someone to talk to (a therapist and/or support group).
- Physical exercise (outdoor walks, yoga or other therapeutic physical activities such as swimming).
Sadly, many forms of trauma occur within the household as a direct result of dysfunction within familial relationships. Damaging relational patterns such as codependency, attachment, and enmeshment cause deep-seated issues and propensities towards interpersonal dysfunction that can only be remedied with intensive therapeutic care. Many dysfunctional relational patterns are passed down from generation to generation, and can only be eradicated when acknowledged and comprehensively addressed. Because of this, it is exceedingly important that the family of the addicted individual seek outside counseling and support while their loved one is in treatment, and continues seeking individual therapeutic care once their loved one returns home. Family therapy may also prove beneficial, when employed in conjunction with individual therapy and supplemental support groups.
The family plays a crucial role in the recovery of both addiction and trauma – not merely in the sense that family members must offer compassionate support, but also in that they must take care of their own individual emotional, mental and spiritual needs. If someone you love has been struggling with addiction for a prolonged period of time and has just embarked on a journey of recovery, bear in mind the fact that the journey will last a life time – and it will not always be a walk in the park. To learn more about the role of the family in addiction and trauma recovery, please visit www.nextchapteraddiction.com.
Written by Cayla Clark
Cayla Clark graduated from UCLA in 2012 with a BA in playwriting, and shortly thereafter moved across the country to Florida, where she began her career as a recovery writer. She works as the creative content writer for Next Chapter Addiction Treatment, a male-exclusive addiction and trauma center in Delray Beach, Florida. She is a proud member of the Next Chapter team, and is inspired by her personal experiences in recovery as well as the facility’s strong clinical program.